AAA 400 Preview and Pick – The Chase

Race: AAA 400
Date: Sunday September 27, 2009
Track: Dover International Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
Channel: ABC

Havoc: Great destruction or devastation. That’s what Dover is going to bring to the table for the Chase drivers, if not for the entire field. The Monster Mile in Dover is one of the craziest and untamable tracks on the circuit.

Dover is a 1 mile true oval with 24 degree banking in the turns and 9 degree banking in the straights. The frontstretch is 1076 feet along with the backstretch because of its true form. Honestly, this is one of my absolute favorite races to watch. You never know what is going to happen here, and in true short-track form, the drivers get nasty and the tempers come out. Being that this is the race for the championship at this point, you better believe that no driver is going to be considerate.

Jimmie Johnson won here in the spring race this year,
while Greg Biffle is the actual defending winner of this
particular race. Again, the Roush guys have had great luck here in the past,
but their luck this year is basically non-existent. Biffle, Kenseth, and
even Edwards are hard-pressed to have a good finish, but I still don’t see
it happening this weekend. Between errors on pit road and driver error,
these guys are not in championship form.

The ones that I am looking to have a good finish are the Hendrick drivers to include Gordon, Johnson, and Martin. I think that Martin is going to have an awesome run and come home with a top 5. I’m looking for Gordon to meander in the top 10. Finally, I think that Johnson is going to be strong this weekend.

My Pick: Jimmie Johnson

While Mark Martin is having great runs every week, this is a notoriously great track for Johnson. We can’t discount the fact that he’s making a run for his 4th championship either. While Martin is looking for his first, we know that Johnson knows how to make it happen, especially in the Chase races. He’s proven it for the past three years.

Here are your current top 12 in the points:

1. Mark Martin
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Juan Montoya
5. Kurt Busch
6. Tony Stewart
7. Ryan Newman
8. Brian Vickers
9. Greg Biffle
10. Jeff Gordon
11. Carl Edwards
12. Kasey Kahne

Gordon and Edwards have to have a good run this weekend or they are going to eliminate themselves from the championship dream in all practicality. At Dover, it’s a combination of good pit stops, good tires, and evasive driving that take you to victory lane. If you can manage to elude the wrecks and the tempers, you’ve done pretty well for yourself here. The idea is to not piss anyone off. If you do, you’re in trouble. The Chase brings out the worst in the drivers sometimes. In fact, Dover brings out the worst in all drivers. This is a track to watch Kyle Busch on as well as teammate Denny Hamlin. They are great competitors here as well and have been having strong and consistent runs for the past few weeks.

Keep your beers cold and your seats warm for Sunday’s running of the AAA 400.